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Falcons help celebrate women, girls in sports

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

NORCROSS -- Kendyl Baugh Moss has celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports Day since she was in college.

On Wednesday, Moss, along with some Atlanta Falcons players and cheerleaders and Georgia State University athletes, helped a new generation of girls observe the day.

National Girls and Women in Sports Day was created in 1987 to honor Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman for her athletic achievements and her work to assure equality for women's sports.

The Falcons chose to visit Ivy Preparatory Academy in Norcross for the 24th annual event because it is an all-girls school, said Moss, the director of community relations for the Falcons.

During the special event, sixth- and seventh-grade students rotated among four stations -- football, basketball and soccer skills and aerobics.

"Right now, I'm sweating a lot," said seventh-grader Mariana Guzman, after she finished the aerobics station. "I think it's great that the Falcons came to our school and let (us) know you're never too young or too old to exercise."

Linebacker Coy Wire told the girls it's important for them to take care of their bodies.

"It's important to find a way to instill healthy lifestyles in kids today," Wire said. "... We only have one body. Hopefully, it will last us a long time. We better take care of it."

Wire said playing sports has been a huge part of his life since has was 6 or 7 years old. He said playing sports all of his life has not only kept him fit but taught him valuable life lessons.

Rachel Cunningham, a senior softball player at Georgia State University, said sports has also been a big part of her life.

"It's something you have a lot of fun with," she told the girls. "It makes you feel good and gives you a lot of energy."

Nina Gilbert, the head of Ivy Prep, said she thinks it's important for students to learn about health and fitness, especially since so many conditions can be reversed with proper diet and exercise.

"Exercise and physical activity don't have to be burdensome. They can be fun," she said. "We're very appreciative that the Atlanta Falcons were forward-thinking enough to reach out to our school to acknowledge Girls and Women in Sports Day."